A grisly murder case involving members of a religious cult has shocked the Mandailing Natal regency in North Sumatra.
A woman, a young boy and a 6-month-old baby were allegedly murdered by fellow cult members who had fled to the hills to avoid what they believed was a looming major disaster on the 15th day of Ramadhan.
The case started when the cult of 10 members — all relatives who lived in Lubuk Kancah village in Ranto Baek district — began their flight to safety last week after their leader Almahdi, also known as Mahdi, heard voices telling him to seek refuge.
As the group sought high ground last Thursday, Mahdi allegedly heard whispers ordering him to kill three family members in his entourage, Mandailing Natal Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Irsan Sinuhaji said.
“The suspect [Mahdi] claimed that he repeatedly heard voices while [the group] was on their way to the hills,” Irsan said on Wednesday.
The first murder allegedly occurred when the group was about to cross the Batang Bangko River.